DUNEDIN, Fla. - During what turned out to be his final season as the Mets' shortstop in 2011, Jose Reyes tried to prepare Ruben Tejada for the task of being his replacement.
"I said, 'Man, this position is going to be yours now for a long time,' " Reyes said Friday. " 'Do the right stuff, work hard and you're going to be here in New York. Because the talent is there. You're so young. Twenty-one years old and you play already at a high level in the big leagues. Don't let that ever go away.' And now he's in a tough position because he doesn't even have a position."
Reyes, now the shortstop for the Toronto Blue Jays, could only shake his head when asked about Tejada, who appears to be the other guy in Wilmer Flores' one-man competition for the Mets' starting job.
"Something's wrong," Reyes said, and he didn't mean with the Mets' decision-making.
As recently as a couple of weeks ago, Reyes said he tried to tell Tejada he had to get after it more if he didn't want to be an afterthought at age 25.
"Every time I talk to him, I try to give him some advice," Reyes said. "What can I do? I try to push him to do stuff. I don't know if he gets it or not . . . You have to work, man. When you're younger, you think you have everything there for you. But if you do something wrong, it's going to go away. Quick.
"When I was there, I always give a lot of advice to him . . . My last year there, every time I talk to him: 'This is going to be your position for a long time. Don't let it go away.' See what happened now? It's 2015 and he doesn't have a position to play."
Tejada could not be reached for comment Friday.
In 2013, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson publicly criticized what he felt was Tejada's reluctance to do extra work. The team also has expressed unhappiness with Tejada's conditioning, although that doesn't appear to be an issue now. "A couple of spring trainings ago, he came to spring training overweight," Reyes said. "I mean, stuff like that . . . That little stuff can hurt you at this level because if you get overweight at shortstop, you're going to get slow."
Of Flores, who signed with the Mets as a 16-year-old in 2007, Reyes said: "I remember he was a good hitter. People said probably in the future he wasn't going to be a shortstop because of his size and stuff. I saw him play last year a little bit. He can play."